Along with potassium, sodium, and calcium, magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. Since the body is not able to produce it itself and store it, it is essential to provide it through food. Indeed, magnesium is involved in a large number of cellular and metabolic reactions and physiological functions that contribute to the proper functioning of the body. Different factors can cause a deficiency and, as a result, health problems. Discover the benefits of magnesium.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions essential for the body. The body of an adult contains around 25 grams. One half is in the bones and teeth, the other half is distributed among the muscles, liver, and other soft tissues. Magnesium is largely intracellular, that is to say, it is found in the cytoplasm, the nucleus, and the various structures of the cell. Cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, and digestive secretions share 1% extracellular magnesium. Within the body, magnesium participates in many processes such as:
- Energy production, storage, and transfer;
- The metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins;
- The functioning of the nervous system and muscles;
- Reduction of fatigue;
- Psychic functioning.
Where is Magnesium Hiding?
The foods richest in magnesium are pulses such as soybeans, black or white beans. It is also found in breakfast cereals, cashews. Apart from dried pulses, it is found in spinach, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard. Note that some mineral waters contain a large amount of magnesium.
The benefits of Magnesium
1. Helps reduce physical fatigue
If foods that contain magnesium are so important, it is because they provide us with essential nutritional intake. This mineral salt contributes to more than three hundred enzymatic reactions in our body. And if food is not enough to provide us with enough magnesium, supplementation takes over. And this, whatever its form, among the most effective: Magnesium gluconate, Magnesium citrate, Magnesium bisglycinate, etc. The use of supplementation can then be made as soon as the first signs of magnesium deficiency appear, ideally in agreement with your doctor.
Nervous and/or physical fatigue is one of its signs, although it can have multiple origins. In any case, magnesium supplementation can be of great interest here. Indeed, magnesium is involved in many enzymatic reactions. The link between lack of magnesium and fatigue in all its forms is clear. However, most people lack magnesium: their intake is lower than the recommendations. Muscles that lack magnesium will malfunction; cramps and spasms may appear.
When it comes to chronic fatigue, lack of magnesium can go so far as to cause joint and muscle pain. Magnesium cures give a boost to all those who lack it daily!
2. The nervous system
Magnesium is mainly known for its action on the nervous system, which is explained by different mechanisms. First of all, magnesium promotes the stabilization of nerve fiber membranes, thus contributing to good nerve impulses. This is ensured by neurotransmitters, the storage and release of which require magnesium. When there is a deficiency, this leads to an anarchic release of neurotransmitters, itself responsible for neuromuscular hyperexcitability which "consumes" magnesium. The body then reacts to the slightest stimulus (stress, irritability, anxiety, nervousness).
Then, magnesium participates in the storage and release of dopamine and serotonin, which are known for their relaxing effect. Serotonin, often associated with a feeling of serenity, is involved in regulating mood and the sleep-wake cycle. It is also used by the body to secrete melatonin, also called the sleep hormone, which helps improve sleep and lower the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Magnesium and stress are linked by a kind of vicious circle. Indeed, stress draws on magnesium reserves. It produces adrenaline, which captures the magnesium present in the plasma, and cortisol, which reduces the intestinal absorption of magnesium and increases its urinary excretion. Cellular supply becomes less good, and the deficit increases the body's sensitivity to stress. It is therefore essential to have sufficient magnesium intake to cope with stress.
In terms of cognitive functions, magnesium also plays an important role, in particular by activating energy metabolism, which is essential for brain function. Its effects have been studied by an international team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who have designed a mixture called magnesium threonate (MgT), made up of magnesium and a protein. In clinical trials, the absorption of MgT has been found to increase the concentration of magnesium in the brain, as well as the number of nerve connections in the hippocampus, an area essential for memory, learning, and communication concentration.
3. Cardiovascular system
All muscles, including heart muscle, contain more magnesium than calcium. In case of lack of magnesium, calcium spreads in the muscle cells of the blood vessels, which can induce an increase in blood pressure and arterial spasms. This phenomenon has led scientists to consider magnesium as a treatment for heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmia). Several studies have also shown that it is a protective factor against cardiovascular disease and opposes the development of atherosclerotic lesions by regulating cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
4. Helps fight stress and promote better sleep
As a natural muscle relaxant, magnesium has virtues in the face of anxiety, stress, and tension. This mineral salt works directly on the nervous system and promotes the release of serotonin, also called the "happiness hormone". Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that soothes and helps eliminate stress. Ensuring good daily magnesium intake helps to limit stress and irritability.
Magnesium acts as a real muscle relaxant. At night, it, therefore, allows the body to be generally more relaxed during sleep, which allows better recovery. For all its reasons, a magnesium cure is beneficial when you are plagued by fatigue and irritability. The same is true when sleep is difficult, not very restorative, and restless.
5. Promotes insulin resistance
Studies have shown a link between magnesium and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Indeed, this mineral salt acts as a regulator of the level of glycemia (blood sugar) and thus makes it possible to prevent the onset of the disease. Hypomagnesemia, which corresponds to the drop in magnesium levels in the blood, has the effect of increasing the body's resistance to insulin. This is a warning sign of diabetes. Magnesium deficiency generally leads to complications of the disease, namely neuropathy or foot ulcers.
We now know that a good daily intake of magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes. Mineral salt helps reduce blood sugar levels in people with this form of diabetes. In addition, for people with type 1 diabetes, magnesium deficiency can also result in the thickening of the blood vessel walls. This leads to early atherosclerosis in many cases.
Magnesium could also help as anti-inflammatory action. Thus, several studies have shown that magnesium supplementation in people suffering from chronic inflammation results in a reduction in the level of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. Moreover, magnesium is important for the synthesis of prostaglandins from essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9). Prostaglandins are compounds that participate in the modulation of the inflammatory reaction. Finally, magnesium aids to regulate the calcium concentration, the surplus, and accumulation of which in the body stimulates inflammation.
7. Meets the needs of pregnant women
Magnesium in pregnant women is a particularly important mineral salt. During the nine months that pregnancy lasts, our nutritional needs change and increase. This is the case with our magnesium needs. For an adult woman, the recommended daily intake is 360 mg of magnesium. During pregnancy, this need increases and reaches 400 mg per day in the last trimester. A considerable increase, therefore. We must take this into account and adapt to it by consuming more foods containing magnesium. The use of supplementation is also a solution indicated for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Due to its effects on the form, magnesium allows the expectant mother to stay in shape despite the ailments and difficulties of this period; Magnesium is involved in several metabolic processes that make up our body. During pregnancy, good intakes of magnesium also make it possible to fight effectively against fatigue. Magnesium cures are common as winter approaches, but also as childbirth approaches. Medical advice is required for any supplementation during pregnancy.